Laughter is the medicine for mental health
ASPIRING comedian and mental illness sufferer Paul Fitzgerald knows better than most the importance of learning how to smile.
Mr Fitzgerald has battled his share of demons over the years in the form of depression, bipolar, paranoia, low self-esteem and a learning disability.
But the 41-year-old is putting his own struggles aside in the hope of bringing happiness to the lives of others.
Mr Fitzgerald and his orangutan puppet, Mr Bigglesworth, will be performing next Wednesday to raise money for beyondblue.
"Beyondblue have helped me a lot so I just want to return the favour," Mr Fitzgerald said.
"It is going to take a lot of guts to get up on stage, but I know it is going to be well worth it in the end because there will be donations going back to beyondblue and they will be able to help people like me."
Public performing is tough for most people, let alone for someone who experiences paranoia.
But Mr Fitzgerald said getting onstage in front of people had helped him overcome his demons.
"Believe me, it is hard, but Mr Bigglesworth helps me," he said.
"I like to make other people happy because I know that at the end of every tunnel there is a light.
"I want to show people that just because I suffer from mental illness doesn't mean that I can't do the things that I want to do."
Mr Fitzgerald and Mr Bigglesworth will perform outside the Caloundra Bulk Billing Surgery on Wednesday from noon.
All donations will go to beyondblue.
If you or someone you know is suffering from mental illness, you can contact beyondblue on 1300 224 636.